Playing games with your dog is a great way to give them exercise but it’s also a great way to train them. These games are not only fun but they will keep your dog on their toes and keep them entertained with reward based training.
This one can be a bit time consuming because it requires you to set it up. Find some objects around your house or in your yard and set them up so that your dog will have to either jump over, crawl under, or go around them. Once you have your obstacle course set up, lead your dog through it with a treat and once they finish let them have it. Do this a few times so that your dog gets the hang of it and then set if they’ll do it with you waiting on the other end instead of guiding them through.
Hide and Seek
This is a great one-on-one game for you a your dog. The best way to get the initial idea in their head is to throw the ball and then hide while they go and retrieve it. They’ll realize that you’re not there anymore and run around trying to find you so that you can continue to throw the ball for them. Another way to go about this is the sit and stay method. This can be a bit tricky if your dog tends to get a little too excited and can’t sit still but it works in the same fashion. Tell your dog to sit and stay then go in another room to hide and call their name once you’re settled in.
This is great for a dog who doesn’t have a whole lot of energy. Have two or three people sit around in a circle and hold a toy then have them pick a name for their respective toys like, “bear,” “turtle,” or “bone.” Then have your dog sit in the middle and everyone takes turns calling out the name of their toy to see if your dog can remember which is which and who he’s supposed to go to. After each turn make sure to reward your dog with a treat to ensure he stays interested. After your dog gets the hang of it you can limit the treats to every other turn and so on.
This game is great for a dog who’s just getting the hang of their basic tricks like sit, lay down, stand up, and high-five. It follows the same rules as the childhood favorite of Simon Says but instead of getting someone out for following along when you didn’t say, “simon says,” you reward your dog when they get the direction correct.
Red Light, Green Light
This is another great game for teaching your dog if he’s still learning basic commands. Again, following the same rules as the original except instead of saying red light or green light you will be saying stay while facing your dog and come when you are facing away.
This seems like it would be pretty simple but it’s a bit trickier than it seems. The game starts by letting your dog chase you and then when he catches you, turn around and start chasing him. It should come natural that your dog will run away from you or allow you to chase him and then when you catch him, turn around and start running again. Your dog may seem a little confused by this at first but they should be able to get the hang of it after a few rounds.
This is a game where everyone wins! Take all of your dog’s toys and place them all around your house. Then, guide your dog through your home telling him to pick up the toy and then walk him back to the toy box and command him to drop it. After a few times, your dog should get the hang of this so you should switch the command to “put it in the box.” Then, whenever they leave a toy out, tell them to pick it up and put it in the box and they should put it away.
This game works about the same way as Clean Up does so don’t expect your dog to be the next Airbud. Try playing it outside with a trashcan or a bucket so your dog gets a different feel for it and play with a ball rather than a plush toy. Throw the ball to your dog and then when he runs over to give it back, walk him to the “net,” or in this case the bucket, and tell him to drop it. Reward him with either treats or a lot of enthusiasm and this should make for a great game.
Sniff It Out
This game is great for dogs who like to solve puzzles. Get three cups and place them upside down on the coffee table where your dog can see them (you may want to use plastic cups for this to make sure nothing gets broken). Then show your dog a treat and place it under one of the three cups and shuffle them to see if your dog can follow where the treat is. Man and dog love playing this game so it makes for a lot of fun and a lot of rewards.